Wild Reeds

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Wild Reeds
Les roseaux sauvages.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by André Téchiné
Produced by Georges Benayoun
Alain Sarde
Written by Olivier Massart
Gilles Taurand
André Téchiné
Starring Élodie Bouchez
Gaël Morel
Stéphane Rideau
Frédéric Gorny
Cinematography Jeanne Lapoirie
Edited by Martine Giordano
Distributed by Pan Européenne Distribution
Release dates
  • 1 June 1994 (1994-06-01)
Running time
110 minutes
Country France
Language French
Budget €3.8 million

Wild Reeds (French: Les Roseaux sauvages) is a 1994 French drama film directed by André Téchiné, about the sensitive passage in the adulthood and in awakening of sexuality by four youths at the end of the Algerian War. The film was selected as the French entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 67th Academy Awards, but was not accepted as a nominee.[1]


The film is set in southwest France in 1962. François (Gaël Morel), a shy young man from the lower middle class, is working towards his high school diploma. He spends most of his time talking about movies and literature with his best friend, Maïté (Élodie Bouchez), whose mother Mme Alvarez (Michèle Moretti) is François's French teacher. Mme Alvarez and Maïté are communists. At the boarding school, François becomes acquainted with the sensual son of a farmer, Serge (Stéphane Rideau). At night, he joins François in the dormitory to chat. Finally, Serge draws François into an erotic relationship.

While Serge acted out of curiosity, François discovers his latent homosexuality and develops a deep attraction for Serge. He confides this discovery to Maïté, who swallows her disappointment to encourage him to come out of the closet. When Serge becomes increasingly interested in Maïté, she declares herself to be interested in nobody.

The Algerian War and its horrors crash headlong into these young friends. Serge's brother dies at the front, Maïté's mother suffers a nervous breakdown, having previously refused to help him desert.

Into this mix, an Algerian-born French exile, Henri (Frédéric Gorny), appears in the boarding school and aggravates all the conflicts. Supporting the OAS, he brings with him the traumas of the war. He cynically makes François face his homosexuality and provokes Serge's hatred. But it's especially the tempestuous meeting with Maïté who goes to destabilize the two of them, when the ideological confrontation collides with their mutual attraction.

In the contact of their differences, each of them learn, little by little, to qualify their judgments and their vision of life.




It was at first conceived to be a part of a television film series dealing the subject of adolescence, Tous les garçons et les filles de leurs âges, entitled Le chêne et le roseau (The Oak and the Reed), which made up the first 55 minutes of Wild Reeds. But after completing the script, Téchiné decided to make it a full theatrical release. Of autobiographical inspiration, it is his biggest personal success in France and also his most intimate film.

As the Algerian War is still, in a certain way, taboo on many points, films on the subject were rare or subject to debate: The Little Soldier (Le Petit Soldat), Avoir vingt ans dans les Aurès, La question.


Critical response[edit]

The film was met with widespread critical acclaim and holds a rare 100% "Fresh" ratings on Rotten Tomatoes.[2] It was released in the United States on May 10, 1995 grossing $38,192 in 7 theaters its widest release eventually grossing a total of $917,915 in North America.[3] In France the film received limited release playing at a total of 40 cinemas and opening in second place in the French box office gaining 37,688 admissions its opening weekend. In total the film had 589,301 admissions in France and was the 51st highest earning film of the year.[4]


Stars Gaël Morel and Élodie Bouchez promoting the film at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival.

At the 1995 César Awards, Les Roseaux Sauvages won Best Film, Best Director (André Téchiné), Most Promising Young Actress (Élodie Bouchez) and Best Original Screenplay.

  • César Awards (France)
    • Won: Best Director (André Téchiné)
    • Won: Best Film
    • Won: Best Writing (Olivier Massart, Gilles Taurand and André Téchiné)
    • Won: Most Promising Actress (Élodie Bouchez)
    • Nominated: Best Actress – Best Supporting Role (Michèle Moretti)
    • Nominated: Most Promising Actor (Frédéric Gorny)
    • Nominated: Most Promising Actor (Gaël Morel)
    • Nominated: Most Promising Actor (Stéphane Rideau)

See also[edit]


External links[edit]